Lufthansa looks to snap up Thomas Cook's Condor airline

Germany's national carrier Lufthansa says it has offered to buy the leisure airline Condor from British parent company Thomas Cook. The acquisition could help Lufthansa expand its long-haul capacity.

Lufthansa on Tuesday said it had made a non-binding offer to buy German airline Condor from its parent company Thomas Cook.

The move marks the latest chapter in Lufthansa's buyout of smaller carriers, with Thomas Cook looking to raise funds for its wider operations.

 "We have made a non-binding offer for Condor, with the option of extending it to all Thomas Cook airlines," said Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr at the airline's annual general meeting in Bonn.

Heavily indebted as a travel group, Thomas Cook had set a Tuesday deadline for expressions of interest in its profitable operations. The firm was forced into the sale after February profit warnings that left it needing to raise cash.

A sale of the business, in whole or in part, would raise money for Thomas Cook to invest in its own hotels and improve online sales.

Read more: Could eco-friendly flying be on the horizon?

Condor's operation includes long haul flights — to Asia, Africa and the Americas — through Frankfurt Airport, as well as short hops to the Mediterranean from regional hubs. 

The Thomas Cook group boasts 103 planes and carries some 20 million passengers each year, delivering an operating profit of some €151 million ($169 million).  

Airline logos: colorful, stark and striking


The plane tails of Australia's national airline Qantas are embellished with a stylized kangaroo, hence the nickname "the Flying Kangaroo!" Even from a far distance, it's easy to tell which continent the plane comes from. After all, kangaroos only exist in Australia. This animal has become a sort of national logo, appearing not only on planes but also on Australia's coat of arms and currency.

Airline logos: colorful, stark and striking

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

In contrast to its Australian counterpart, the logo of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is more factual. The abstract symbol of a crown in combination with the three letters KLM leaves no doubt as to which country this plane comes from. And that's what logos are all about.

Airline logos: colorful, stark and striking

Gambia Bird

The tiny West African state is a paradise for birds and their friends. More than 500 different kinds of birds live in the Gambia. Tourists don't even need to take birdwatching trips because many birds can be spotted in hotel gardens — they're just everywhere! Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Gambian national airline went for a bird as its logo when it was founded in 2012. Service ceased in 2014.

Airline logos: colorful, stark and striking

Alaska Airlines

The Seattle-based airline has proved its creativity on several occasions during its 90-year-long history. The company was among the first airlines to sell tickets online and to offer online and automatic check-ins. Like its name, the logo of the airline refers to Alaska and its indigenous inhabitants, the Inuit.

Airline logos: colorful, stark and striking

Iran Air

A trade embargo and political tensions between 1980 and 2016 made it hard for Iran's state airline with headquarters at Tehran's Mehrabad airport to modernize its planes. But maybe the "homa," the mythological bird used in the logo, came to the rescue of the airline. According to Persian mythology, "homa" is believed to bring luck and joy while living its life entirely in the sky.

Airline logos: colorful, stark and striking

Air Tanzania

Over the years Tanzania's national airline has also had to face numerous challenges. Sometimes its fleet was in the air, sometimes not, and the airline's owners also frequently changed. It's certainly not the fault of the giraffe logo. The world's tallest animal looks so friendly and inviting on the plane;what passenger could say no to stepping onboard for a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro?

Airline logos: colorful, stark and striking

Takeoff into the future

A crane has served as the logo of Germany's largest airline since 1918. Some types of cranes cover enormous distances when they migrate, but others are considered pests due to their enormous appetites. Lufhansa is now flying into the future with a new logo design. The symbol will be the same, but the colors will change. Goodbye yellow and gray, hello simple white and blue!

The fleet could be useful for Lufthansa if it looks to expand long-haul routes with its no-frills subsidiary Eurowings.

As well as Lufthansa, the sale of Condor was also reported to have interested the Indigo Partners investment group and British Airways owners IAG. Ireland's Ryanair has also been touted as a possible buyer.

Related Subjects

rc/jm (Reuters, AFP)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

Related content